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Theatre Groundbreaking Set for October 14
(Released: 10/02/01)

By Sherry Fisher, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- A groundbreaking for the Nafe Katter Thrust Stage Theatre will take place at the University of Connecticut on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 3:30 p.m. in the courtyard next to the music/drama building library.

A scholarship tea to honor donors of scholarships and awards, and the fine arts students who have received them, will follow in the Mobius Theatre in the drama building.

Katter, an emeritus professor of dramatic arts, donated $1 million for construction of the new theater in the School of Fine Arts. The University matched his gift with an additional $400,000.

A thrust stage is a three-sided stage that extends into the audience and offers more audience-actor contact. The new theater will complement the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, the proscenium-style venue where the dramatic arts department presents its main-stage productions through its performance arm, Connecticut Repertory Theatre. Thrust stages are particularly useful for classical theater.

"The Nafe Katter Theatre gives us an opportunity to enhance the educational experience of our students in the dramatic arts. It is a venue that provides a different experience for our theater majors, one they have not had before," says David Woods, dean of the School of Fine Arts.

Katter says he is "thrilled" that the new thrust stage theater is being built. "It's important for students to get this kind of experience," says Katter. "Not only actors, but designers and directors as well. It's something I've been thinking about for a couple of decades."

Katter came to UConn in 1957 and retired in 1997. While at the University, he directed 100 productions, including Shakespeare productions and musicals. He was a founder of, and acted at the Stratford (Conn.) Festival Theatre, and has acted in Theatreworks and at the Hartford Stage, where he continues to enjoy an active career. In 2000, Katter received a Distinguished Advocates for the Arts Award from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

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